15 June 2018
Inevitably I am back in Lithuanian territory this week – in fact I haven’t really left it, despite the distance. I am still at the “this time a fortnight ago” stage. Dozens of photos have spilled into my Inbox – please grandchild come and folder them for me! Possibly one of them might tempted with a promise of Kugelis?
Kugelis is beloved by hungry children of which it must be said that BH was one. (The virtues of the potato versus those of rice were a recurring theme of our marriage. Not everlasting love or fidelity till death, but potatoes v. rice.)
While not exactly a recipe for high summer, this classic home-made Lithuanian “side” (as I believe they call them nowadays) is delicious with hot or cold meats, fish or on its own. Accompany it with a mixed green salad or a jazzy tomato salsa. To my mind it’s best twinned with a well-seasoned grated beetroot and horseradish salad, enlivened with plenty of lemon juice but dumbed down with sour cream.
You can’t go wrong with that, even on the hottest day. Teenagers love kugelis; it fills all parts other padding-out foods fail to reach.
Faddies will NOT love it.
“Oh but Gran it’s so fattening! It’s got potatoes in it.” Or worse, the dreaded egg. My golly, I say to myself just under my breath, I just hope these youngsters never come up against food rationing or worse.
Look around you kids: there are people starving across the water not so far from where you are standing. For goodness sake eat what you are lucky enough to be offered and be grateful for it.
If you want to help the planet (and don’t we all?) or lose weight then eat a modest portion of everything and don’t throw things away; learn the art of cooking up leftovers. If you have the opportunity, grow your own, and share if you have too much. But please, don’t fuss, pick and fad over food. Apart from anything else, it’s bad manners. Someone, probably your mother or father, has spent money and time shopping, preparing, cooking and presenting a nourishing meal for your benefit.
Eat it up!
Right, got that off my chest.
Here’s the recipe for Kugelis, an excellent, homely dish.
For about 8 servings
Set oven at 230 degrees C / 450 degrees F / Gas Mark 8
480 ml / 2 cups of scalded milk (Why scalded? It’s supposed to hold the flavours better)
4 lbs raw potatoes, peeled and grated (Use floury ones such as King Edwards; new ones are no good)
1 medium onion, chopped (or a large one if you like onions)
¼ lb bacon, chopped (a heap of streaky does the job nicely)
4 eggs, separated
Salt & pepper – go easy on the salt, because of the bacon
Add to the grated potatoes and milk, cooled by now. Season.
Add the egg whites, well beaten but not stiff.
Stir mixture carefully, then pour it all into a well-greased roasting tin. I can’t tell you what size but you’ll know when you reach this stage!
Bake in the middle of the oven at 450 degrees F for 20 minutes, then lower heat to 350 degrees F and cook for a further 20 minutes until golden in colour. It’s a pretty hot oven so don’t overdo it and blacken the top. Make sure it’s cooked through by testing with a sharp knife.
Garnish with sautéed bacon and finely chopped onion if you can be bothered.
Serve with your choice of salad, or an onion sauce, or sour cream mixed with cranberry sauce.
Kugelis is traditionally sliced into oblong pieces for serving.
It’s so simple to make those teens could easily do it themselves, and it’s a great student recipe, economical but exotic.
Or, Bon appetit to you!